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Ducati Scrambler - 1 year on

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by QuarterWit, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. I sold my Triumph Bonneville and ended up buying a 2016 Ducati Scrambler.

    It's been nearly a year now and it's my only transport - I commute, tour and go for weekend rides on the bike. And it's only got 10,000km's on it, which is really low for me. I think I logged nearly 30,000 in the first year of owning the Bonneville. And I didn't like that bike all that much either.

    The Scrambler looks... fine. It's mostly a tribute to injection moulded plastic with big cosmetic covers over the airbox, around the tank, under the seat and around the headlight nacelle. It'll be interesting to watch what happens to those in the years to come when the sun begins to harden, crack and fade them.

    But in the meantime it looks okay. The tail light is nice and recessed, the indicators and mirrors aren't that obtrusive and all the controls are easily within reach. A minor annoyance though - those mirrors are actually wider than your hands. I found that out the hard way.

    On the good side the Scrambler handles really well. It's quite low weight, carries it's heft really well at all speeds and is set up with whatever magic geometry some bikes seem to have that allow it to turn a corner and hold a line and just feel really surefooted at all speeds.

    A big part of that is the tyres, which were developed specifically for the bike. They look a little like dual purpose tyres, much like the deathwings that come on all manner of bikes. But they handle beautifully on the road. There isn't much tyre noise and off road they do okay. Just okay. Fine for hard packed clay and gravel but not much chop for anything else.

    It does suffer from typically cheap shocks and springs. None of it is replaceable and to remove the cartridges in the front USD forks they actually need to be drilled out. There's a shitty cartridge in the right fork and NOTHING in the left except for a dummy placeholder. That's crap crap crap crap crap. No adjustment is available.

    Uneven road surfaces have you shuddering and bumping your way down a road. This doesn't help it 'scramble' very much either when you hit a bump and the bike kicks you in the nuts.

    The other problem when riding off road is the main issue I've had with the Scrambler. The fuel injection is shit.

    It's really choppy and, annoyingly, I haven't been able to completely resolve it. I've got a new fuelling unit in there and gone a tooth up on the front sprocket which has helped a lot, but it's still an absolute pain in the arse around town.

    Thankfully that change in fuelling has made the bike actually rideable in the heat. During summer months it got that hot I had to get off the bike and catch a tram. Some people will say 'Oh, that's just air cooled bikes'. Bullshit. I've only owned air-cooled bikes and none have felt like they were nearly setting fire to my legs.

    But the 801cc engine is pretty damn good. It's got a good amount of personality, it's actually reliable (I know the reputation Ducatis have but in my limited experience it's from ancillary things like lights, and ignitions. The engine itself has been around for years and is a reliable donk).

    As I say that the high beam has started to come on randomly over the last week. The only other issue I have is the fuel cap which isn't actually sealed - I've opened it after a storm and it's been full of water in the recess around the lip.

    The clutch feel is shit, but that's a Ducati thing. It's mushy and inconsistent and requires a firm shift otherwise you'll find neutral between 1st and 2nd. Or 2nd and 3rd. Or 4th and 5th or 5th and 6th. As long as you really kick it into gear you'll always be okay.

    It's also monstrously uncomfortable. Any more than an hour in the saddle and I start to feel the burning sensation in my arse.

    My main problem with the bike is just the... concept of the thing.

    It's the cheapest bike that Ducati have sold in a while and it certainly shows. But it's a budget bike with premium priced parts and servicing. Watch how many owners bother with the $700 minor services years down the track. I think it's destined for pretty bad things.

    I've heard people say that it'd be a great commuter but I don't think it'd be a good contender for that. It's pretty crap on fuel consumption, the tyres won't be all that cheap and servicing is time consuming and tricky if you do it yourself, or just plain fcuking expensive it you give it to someone else.

    It's a good weekend toy, where you won't clock up huge amounts of kms and it's so forgiving on the road you can get away with making some stupid decisions or picking some stupid lines. It's got a short seat height, it's light and would suit a girl or girly man really well.

    And honestly, the trips I've done on the bike have been fun. Turn the ABS off, hit some light trails, get back to the windy roads and ABS back on again and you're hooning around some twisty corners. And all while looking grea... okay.

    But all in all I wouldn't recommend it. Certainly not until I figure out a way to tame the fuelling. Until then it's a nightmare around town. I'm at the stage where I don't know whether to keep pursuing options and sinking more money into the bike or take a big financial whack and sell it and just get a DR650 again and put 18" wheels on it and just giggle everywhere i go in my helmet.
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  2. You've either got a talent for picking inadequate bikes, or you're way too demanding :LOL:
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  3. I'm just a cynical bastard.

    There's a good bike in there somewhere, I just don't know if I want to spend the money to find it.
  4. I had similar issues with fueling on an Aprilia Dorsoduro, even with a Fatduc the bloody thing was virtually unrideable in traffic.Great looking, good concept, but servicing and part prices were astronomical.
  5. Yeah, it's one of those sacrifices we've had to make as riders to ride something with personality and that is exciting.

    But with the Yamaha MT range I'm no longer certain you have to go Italian to enjoy it.
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  6. Yes, or upgrade to a Z1000 and try to keep the damn front wheel down during the morning commute.....
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  7. Is that your ad for selling it on here? MODS: please move to the bikes for sale section ;)
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  8. thanks for an honest in incite full review. Not often you get to hear the good and the bad from a current bike owner
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  9. What George said. Sure will incite the Ducatistas but it was insightful all the same.
    Do you have an equally comprehensive and pull no punches Bonneville review in the archives? Love to read it if you do.
    I owned an 02 Bonneville for a few years until sparse finances forced me to sell it. I threw quite a bit of money at it to make it far better than the stds.
    Now back on a scrambler but a Triumph.
  10. Go ride the XSR900 mate. It's the MT09 with retro styling. Bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing.
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  11. Cuttlefish, I can do one better - I did a whole video about the Scrambler.

    I think the Triumph Scrambler was the pic of the air cooled retro classic line. The engine was so much torquier and had much more personality than the standard Bonnie.

    BugzR34 - I really want to ride the XSR900 but I'm worried I'll end up buying it. I've been having a play in photoshop and it looks incredible with a 3/4 fairing on it too.
  12. Yeah I was in the same boat. Just wanted to ride the Mt09 and get that bike. Rode the mt09. Suspension was too soft. Jumped on the XSR900 and put a deposit down half hour later. One of the best bang for buck bikes.
    On another note. Was driving from my annual snow trip on Sunday and saw a guy on yellow scrambler riding south. Might have been you maybe :)
  13. Mmmm XSR900... sooooo goooood!

    Come join us QuarterWitQuarterWit !
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  14. The new Bonneville is getting good reviews along with the new Scrambler.

    Time for a revisit perhaps! :D
  15. BugzR34 - that would have been me. I was coming that way on Sunday and I don't think there would be too many yellow scramblers kicking around that day.

    Matt black Shoei with a dark tinted black visor?
  16. Yeah sounds familiar mate. I remember the Duc and thought that's a weird to place to see one as they are usually inner city riders. I was going the other way so didn't get a chance to see the helmet colour. Sounds you had a good ride mate. I want to do that trip on a bike too someday. Might need a rack for the snowboard :)
  17. I've never seen a Duke Scrambler in the flesh but I do like the idea behind that type of bike. I quite fancy one but brand new they come across as a bit overpriced for what you get. Can certainly see the market they are aiming at and the advertising/marketing department have it right with how they're pitching it. Still doesn't seem like a "proper" Duke to me though!
  18. I thought it weird that Ducati suddenly stopped the smaller Monsters - which were supposed to be their biggest sellers. The scrambler was something that looked completely different.

    Interesting that "spy shots" of a new 800cc Air-cooled monster a lot like like the last of the line (not scramblers) have started to surface. And a water cooled 939 Monster too - apparently the 821 can't meet the tight Euro4 emission standards.
  19. So in response I decide to look through some online reviews and see what they said (for comparison).

    There really wasn't any particular mention of poor fuelling, but Cycleworld had this:
    But one real drawback to the Italian bike’s eagerness was its very quick throttle response and heavier-pull, lower-feel clutch. If you are at all unsure about your throttle control and clutch coordination skills, the Ducati can challenge your ability to be smooth. This is less a flaw than a matter of tuning style, but it’s a real thing.

    Is the bike RBW, or has it got a mechanical throttle cam? I understand that a number of KTM guys converted the throttle cam on certain LC8 models to calm the response a bit.
    Alternatively QW, is it worth testing another Scrambler to see if yours is somehow different in respect to fuelling?
    (I accept that they may be entirely different issues as you see them).

    Other reviews certainly mention the (dis)comfort factor.
  20. Interesting read. Given what you've said, and the fact that you've clearly been riding for some time and have bike knowledge, I'm curious to find out what the motive was for buying the scrambler in the first place?
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